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Author Topic: COMMUNICATION: D.E.A.R.M.A.N. technique  (Read 16422 times)
an0ught
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« on: November 20, 2011, 09:06:43 AM »

After wandering in the FOG for a longer time we have lost the natural instincts and ability to ask for something. Fear is controlling our thinking. Our partner is super sensitive and tends to over-react. We get ever more careful, stopping to ask for things needed in our or our relationship's interest. Resentment breeds. Resentment is sensed. Communication grinds to a halt. How do we get back to normal? A big step is start asking again for what is needed and this is where D.E.A.R.M.A.N can help us.

D.E.A.R.M.A.N. - Marsha Linehan, MD published the DEARMAN in 1993 as part of her DBT training manual.

D= Describe the current situation. Tell the person exactly what you are reacting to. Stick to the facts.

E= Express your feelings and opinions about the situation. Assume that others cannot read your mind. Don’t expect others to know how hard it is for you to ask directly for what you want.

A= Assert yourself by asking for what you want or saying no clearly. Assume that others cannot read your mind. Don’t expect others to know how hard it is for you to ask directly for what you want.

R= Reinforce the reward to the person ahead of time. Tell the person the positive effects of getting what you want or need. Help the person feel good ahead of time for doing what you want.

M= Mindfully keep your focus on your objectives. Maintain your position. Don’t be distracted.

A= Appear Confident. Use a confident voice tone and physical manner; make good eye contact. No stammering, whispering, staring at the floor, retreating, saying “I’m not sure,” etc.

N= Negotiate by being willing to give to get. Offer and ask for alternative solutions to the problem. What am I willing to “settle for” or “give up” in order to gain what I want in the situation?


D.E.A.R.M.A.N. is used when you have an objective, you want something specific, such as to get more sleep, to have help with the chores, to affect a change or to say NO to a request. You want the other person to come away feeling good about you and not full of resentment. This preserves the relationship. You also want to protect or even enhance your self respect.



Have you practiced DEARMAN and in what situation and how did it go? Do you have something you want to happen and you wonder whether this is a case of DEARMAN? Are you confused when to use S.E.T., DEARMAN or Boundaries? There is certainly a lot you would like to have, happen or changed...
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« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2011, 02:54:05 AM »

AO,
I am trying to communicate with her, and try to get her understanding of what I am dealing with, and try to get some cooperation.  If DEARMAN can help me approach her with this I would be forever greatful.  So, I was asking for maybe an example or two to help me formulate my approach.

Thank You,
Art
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an0ught
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« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2011, 02:22:48 PM »

Hi Artman,

try to get her understanding of what I am dealing with,
sharing your views may be better done using SET. You are not really asking her to do anything specific here.

and try to get some cooperation.
this is too vague. Concrete objectives are needed to get anything...

Do you have any concrete objectives in your mind. Some tangible behavior?
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« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2011, 07:46:15 AM »

This was helpful and the timing was good too. I just went through yet another weekend where what should've been, could've been a simple conversation about a relatively minor issue turned into the typical acting out, lashing out, etc. And, once again, I got caught up in it and let my emotions take over. Thankfully, we managed to calm things down. Then I needed to bring up another issue which was definitely more emotionally laden and fraught with potential escalation. I had been logging on again and reviewing the tools. I used a combination of DEARMAN and SET to convey my concern and desire with the particular issue. While it was met with some lack of understanding it most definitely went much more calmly. I was very nervous about bringing up what I knew to be a hot-button issue but I also knew I could not let my fear prevent me from expressing what I was observing and seeking a different way of handling it. I remained non-judgmental even when W's responses were clearly indicative of a singular, emotionally-driven mindset.
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an0ught
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« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2011, 11:41:51 AM »

This was helpful and the timing was good too. I just went through yet another weekend where what should've been, could've been a simple conversation about a relatively minor issue turned into the typical acting out, lashing out, etc. And, once again, I got caught up in it and let my emotions take over. Thankfully, we managed to calm things down. Then I needed to bring up another issue which was definitely more emotionally laden and fraught with potential escalation. I had been logging on again and reviewing the tools. I used a combination of DEARMAN and SET to convey my concern and desire with the particular issue. While it was met with some lack of understanding it most definitely went much more calmly. I was very nervous about bringing up what I knew to be a hot-button issue but I also knew I could not let my fear prevent me from expressing what I was observing and seeking a different way of handling it. I remained non-judgmental even when W's responses were clearly indicative of a singular, emotionally-driven mindset.

 Doing the right thing smiley
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« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2011, 12:10:33 PM »

D= Describe the current situation. Tell the person exactly what you are reacting to. Stick to the facts.

E= Express your feelings and opinions about the situation. Assume that others cannot read your mind. Don’t expect others to know how hard it is for you to ask directly for what you want.

A= Assert yourself by asking for what you want or saying no clearly. Assume that others cannot read your mind. Don’t expect others to know how hard it is for you to ask directly for what you want.

R= Reinforce the reward to the person ahead of time. Tell the person the positive effects of getting what you want or need. Help the person feel good ahead of time for doing what you want.

M= Mindfully keep your focus on your objectives. Maintain your position. Don’t be distracted.

A= Appear Confident. Use a confident voice tone and physical manner; make good eye contact. No stammering, whispering, staring at the floor, retreating, saying “I’m not sure,” etc.

N= Negotiate by being willing to give to get. Offer and ask for alternative solutions to the problem. What am I willing to “settle for” or “give up” in order to gain what I want in the situation?
----------------------------------------------

I used DEARMAN last night

D- I had a print out of dates where events occurred - these are indesputable because they are all in e mail-  

may 12 you e mailed me X

may 15 you e mailed me Y

e- I expressed that this was the information I was going off of when I responded to him.

A- I asserted myself by doing the above

R- I encouraged him that this was something that might help him. I explained this might be useful for him to take a look at as he might find it interesting and as context.  He was wowed that he didn't remember it that way- his own words- he settled in to the conversation engaged -

M- I knew I wanted to help change the perspective so that at a later date I could open the conversation to how this behavior affects me -

A- I was very confident

N- there was nothing long term to negotiate at that point. the negotiation is much later - months from now.

The short term goal was to ask him to look at the facts, then see my point of view based on those.

Success!

But pwbpd can;t handle more than this right now- and that's ok- baby steps.

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« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2011, 01:04:26 PM »

Are you confused when to use S.E.T., DEARMAN or Boundaries?
SET is for explaining my position on something, boundaries are rules for myself and DEARMAN is for having a conversation about something that I need or want to change.  Is that right?

UFN, I read your explanation of the points of DEARMAN and it seems hard to remember it all.  I guess it comes with practice.  I can, however, see just from reading the explanation how it can help facilitate a conversation.  I'm willing to try anything that can help.  

It would be helpful to have some examples of conversations or situations in which its used.  Anyone?

Thanks UFN for the helpful info.  smiley
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« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2011, 02:36:11 PM »

I used DEARMAN with a particularly difficult topic over the summer -- both with my SO and her OSO -- and it went very well. I got what I asked for out of it, and it really helped me to be less nervous about having the conversation in the first place, because I had practiced what I actually needed to say and didn't just launch into it in some long and rambling way.

I had been invited on camping trip by friends that was a revisiting of a place we'd camped two years prior. I enjoyed the trip then, but it was after my exH and I had split up, and it was our first time both of us camping with a group and being in separate tents. I remember I had to buy some new camping gear before it because we'd split ours up during the divorce.

So, this new camping trip came up, and I RSVPed yes. I invited my SO, and she said she'd like to go with me. Then, friends of ours began inviting other mutual friends, and before long it was becoming a trip where it would be kind of weird not to invite my SO's OSO also. She knew probably a dozen of the people going, though most of them were people she had met through me, and no one was specifically inviting her because I think they were waiting to see whether I would. I had the feeling that I wouldn't mind inviting her, but I didn't want to share my partner with her on such a trip. If she went, I'd like it to be in addition to me and my SO going together as a couple as already planned -- i.e., no awkwardness about us being together, being affectionate, no trying to balance the time equally and all of that BS. It was also complicated by the fact that she was planning her own trip to another state the following week, and I didn't even know whether she'd consider going or not.

So, I asked my SO's OSO to meet me for a drink after work and let her know there was something I was a little nervous about but wanted to discuss with her in terms of planning and whatnot. I used DEARMAN to get myself ready for the talk, and then I basically repeated my thoughts out loud to her.

Describe: I described how the invitation had come about, that the situation was making me feel awkward, that I felt it was something we should talk about, etc.

Express: I expressed that I had emotions related to this particular camping trip and camping site (e.g., that I'd had an awkward time there in the past because of my split with my exH and didn't want to have an awkward time again because of our complicated relationship situation; that I wanted to be able to invite my SO on group outings like any normal couple without feeling responsible for everyone else's feelings; that I had been specifically invited and had invited my SO early and didn't particularly want to change the feeling of this trip; that I might prefer not to go rather than go and have it be all kinds of awkward; I expressed that I actually thought the OSO might enjoy going on the trip, too, but that I hadn't been sure how to broach the topic, etc.).

Assert: I invited her to come if she thought she would be able to enjoy it but that I did not want to do any awkward time balancing/tent swapping/whatever. I asked for this to be me and my SO's camping trip together, regardless of whether the OSO thought she might want to go as well.

Reinforce: I let her know that I thought we all deserved to have this sort of thing -- that my SO and her would be going on their own trip the following month, that this would allow me and my SO to have a much needed opportunity to be a relaxed couple around our friends, that I understood they might have such things come up in the future themselves and would respect a request for it to be their private trip (they do occasionally get invited to stuff like a dinner party, and I don't feel it's their responsibility to automatically extend the invitation to me), etc.

Mindful: I kept my mind on this topic, rather than getting all worked up about whether I was discussing it in the best order or how unusual it was or what she might be thinking or whatever.

Appear confident: I didn't back down from my request. I considered it the adult thing to do: discuss your situation/feelings and ask for what you actually want.

Negotiate: I didn't need to negotiate in the end, but there was some mention of that (e.g., that if this was a problem for her, and she was unable to respect the request, I would know that and act accordingly, possibly by just not going if it didn't feel comfortable for me; that in the future, I would be happy to listen as she directly asked for something she wanted, etc.)

In the end, it all worked out quite well. Our conversation went well. We ordered another drink and walked home together afterward. It was uncomfortable, but I felt heard. My SO and I went camping with my friends, it wasn't the big huge group that it could have been, we had a good time (mostly; we did have some problem areas for sure), I felt more confident in myself for being able to handle the situation as an adult, etc. My SO's OSO did not go, and she and my SO had a little extra time between our camping trip and the OSO's trip to the other place, and if the OSO has any lasting hurt from this, I haven't heard about it and it's her responsibility to manage that and talk about it as needed.

It may have helped that the OSO herself does not seem to be personality disordered in any way, but I felt it was good practice for me regardless and a good way to reduce my anxiety. I essentially framed things the same way when discussing it with my girlfriend, and it helped there, too.

There are numerous conversations we've had go south that when I think back on them, I know DEARMAN would have helped tremendously.



My acronym OSO  stands for "other significant other." My uBPDso has another SO besides me. Theirs is a platonic relationship, but it's as involved a "partnership" as mine is with my SO, and the three of us all live together (for the time being; this is changing in the next two weeks -- yay!).

The OSO is very insecure and has a hard time understanding that she is important and valuable to my SO, and that their relationship can be respected as important, without everything being equal all of the time. Me stating that I wanted not to have to worry about time being evenly spent and so on was not something she wanted to hear. But DEARMAN helped.
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ScarletOlive
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« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2013, 05:41:28 PM »

The DEARMAN technique is really wonderful. It works in all relationships, whether with persons with BPD, coworkers, bosses, friends and relatives. When my BPDmom has said something very hurtful, it helps me to focus on the steps in my head and then go through them like a mental checklist.

D-Mom, when you said hit__ to me,

E-I felt hurt and put down.

A-Will you please not say that anymore?

R-I want us to have a good relationship and not have hurtful conflicts pulling us apart.

M-If she blames me or minimizes, I try my best to stay present, and calmly state my side.

A-Heh, it's hard for me to appear confident with my mom. It helps to remind myself that I'm an adult and that I'm worth it. Then I do a body scan to see if I'm looking like someone who deserves respect. Looking the part helps her and me feel it.

N-If she wants me to apologize for something, I do that. Often, if I'm agreeable, and we're both calm, it can work out.
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« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2013, 08:07:14 PM »

R

Is the one I've had issues with. I didn't even know about "dearman" but was doing something similar to this.

E & R triiped me up the most.

When I got to E, his attitude was basically this---(in a nutshell) he is rude/nasty-- I react= that is my problem , he is not responsible for my feelings...  
Well he really got me there. He is right. He's not responsible for my feelings, but he is responsible for causing the situation/words that triggered my feelings.
I couldn't get my head around the idea that you can take that attitude. Call someone a nasty name, they cry, you tell them their tears are not your responsibility. They made themselves sad.

Well he's into psychology and all that...   but he twists it. I feel like a fool when he does this.

R---- I don't really have anything to enforce or reward. He just goes into "I don't care" mode & presses the "cut-off" switch so many people here talk about.

He's pretty smart actually.

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GreenMango
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« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2013, 08:12:11 PM »

Whatever board you are on if you run up on a situation where you want to practice with the members it is always welcome.

In these situations practicing by starting a thread about it can help to massage out any details and get some really great feedback where you might see some problems.
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« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2013, 08:23:52 PM »

Thanks GreenMango,

I think that would be helpful, like when you have an interview coming up and you role play with a friend. Great idea!

I think the only thing the people here would be a little different at is emotions.

A normal person would say "oh man, I feel awful/embarassed/regret that I annoyed you/made you cry/hurt your feelings.
I didn't mean it, I am sorry.

But my pwBPD in face of my expresson may say that in a good mood. But mostly :"That's not my responsibility!"
"That's not my problem"
"You made yourself sad, you choose your own reactions."
"Too bad!"

"Suck it up" is the take home message. Or "deal with it."

The validation is pretty one-sided. I just bite my tongue.


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GreenMango
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« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2013, 08:38:10 PM »

It's a learning process Themis.  It takes all of us practice. Empathy

The role playing really helps.
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an0ught
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« Reply #13 on: March 17, 2013, 10:47:07 AM »

Hi Themis,

Is the one I've had issues with. I didn't even know about "dearman" but was doing something similar to this.

E & R triped me up the most.

When I got to E, his attitude was basically this---(in a nutshell) he is rude/nasty-- I react= that is my problem , he is not responsible for my feelings...  
Well he really got me there. He is right. He's not responsible for my feelings, but he is responsible for causing the situation/words that triggered my feelings.
I couldn't get my head around the idea that you can take that attitude. Call someone a nasty name, they cry, you tell them their tears are not your responsibility. They made themselves sad.

Well he's into psychology and all that...   but he twists it. I feel like a fool when he does this.

DEARMAN is not simple to do: Steering a conversation through 7(!) defined steps with a person that is prone to dysregulation while you are feeling possibly weak and insecure is virtually impossible.

The key to acquire the skill for DEARMAN lies NOT in following the letters. It lies in learning the underlying skills and practicing them well enough to then being able to steer a conversation through DEARMAN. When looking at DEARMAN it is clear that we are to express needs for change. The following skills are essential:



SET - Support, Empathy and Truth. A solid handle is needed here to express the needs and stand by the fact that we request it.

  Support - what we request is going to help them. Possibly not them but them in a relationship with us. Maybe not them but getting them in less trouble. There needs to be something in for them and if it is only to get our POV. In DEARMAN "s" may be little but having a supportive stance to a degree ourselves is important as it prevents us to become too aggressive and trigger push back. "s" but not "S".

  Empathy - validation is critical. Without feeling heard nobody is going to listen - true for everyone but even more for a pwBPD. Empathy is important - being true to emotions. To the pwBPD but also to ours. Not confusing the two, respecting the other and acknowledging our own.

  Truth - ability to express facts as facts from a NEUTRAL POV is very important to get through. Often what we are seeing as FACTS are our opinions and judgments. And if the facts are not facts but an attempt to get our way in a passive-aggressive manner one won't get far. In DEARMAN truth often is that WE want something. Not being true to the source of the demand would be behaving passive-aggressive and can result in push-back




A critical component when requesting anything is assertiveness.

We are pushing someone to change and we need to appear confident. While we are pushing we are possibly stepping over a boundary on the other side and we need to be careful to sufficiently respect to other sides other boundaries so that this push is not leading to escalation. It is a balancing act. Pushing some boundaries but not coming across as threatening the core. Assertiveness can be seen as one point on the spectrum of:


Passive --- Assertive --- Aggressive

It is far from trivial to balance this. Particularly hard as one can expect resistance when asking for change from anyone and often strongly from a pwBPD. We need to be ok experiencing resistance, it is expected after all and just a milestone on the way. When it comes to balance you need a firm stand...  



Being able to take a stand requires to feel secure yourself. Boundaries are a critical skill to feel secure. There will be resistance and not being afraid is already a big step towards assertiveness. Not feeling afraid is also a key for the other side not to sense and feel fear.

Boundary understanding is also critical to deal with the extinction bursts. DEARMAN is designed to overcome it by avoiding triggering too much and persisting through it.

Boundaries are also critical to predict the negotiation space on the other side and also to decide on how far you will yield if needed. The latter is known in negotiations as BATNA - Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement.



Have a firm stand, being able to negotiate the spectrum between flexibility and firmness we need to be mindful. Knowing where we are in the DEARMAN steps is useful but even more important is focusing on the situation at hand. Perceive the reaction of the other side. Perceiving and regulating own emotions. Listening to the other side. Flexible if there is a true need but only then. Being clear and persisting.




Working on SET, Assertiveness, Boundaries and Mindfulness can be done independently and will give immediate payback. The better we get at them the more mental energy we have to successfully steer a complex interaction.

Having said all this - should one give up on DEARMAN at the beginning? Not at all although SET is a necessary skill. DEARMAN is valuable skill that at its very core boils down to:

We have a right to ask for change - the other side may or may not agree, that is fine too.

When owning up to our requests, staying respectful and focused on what we want we improve our chances for affecting change.
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heartandwhole
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« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2013, 03:58:39 PM »

I think I could have used DEARMAN today. I've never tried to use it before, but here's a situation where it might help: When I visit my mother, sometimes she "orders" me to do things, which means she doesn't ask, she just says things like " you have to do this" or "we have to get this done," etc.  Sometimes that turns into "You didn't do this" "I told you..blah blah...  "

Now, I'm an adult, and I'm embarrassed to say that this bothers me sometimes. (Of course there is a whole FOO backstory here that I won't get into.) If she wants some help that I'm not already doing (most of the time she doesn't have to say anything), I'd like her to ask me, instead of telling me what to do and when to do it.  

So, DEARMAN plan:

D: Mom, when you tell me what to do and when to do it,
E: I feel a little like a servant and not respected.
A: I'd like you to ask me to do things, instead of telling me.
R: We get along so well and I don't want this to put any strain on our relationship, because I value it so much.
M: When she tells me she's hurt by my feelings, I'll listen and validate while maintaining my position.
A: This might be tricky, but I think I can appear confident by staying on topic and looking at her.
N: I can make sure that if she does ask me for help, I'll be open to it and won't passively show resentment, so that she feels comfortable doing what I've asked her to do.

It's a lot to remember, but I think I have the gist of it?

Thanks so much for this workshop!  love

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« Reply #15 on: August 12, 2013, 04:07:09 PM »

heartandwhole-yes, that's a really good DEARMAN smiley You definitely have the gist of it.
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« Reply #16 on: August 13, 2013, 07:25:36 AM »

Thank you, musicfan42, it took me awhile!  love
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